Team Canada placed second at the IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championship in Thailand in August. (File contributed/Tom Arnold)

Team Canada placed second at the IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championship in Thailand in August. (File contributed/Tom Arnold)

Local athletes help Team Canada place second at world dragon boat championships

Victoria-based Tom Arnold took on the role as head coach for one of the teams for the first time

Canada’s national dragon boat team has walked away with 85 medals, placing second overall at the International Dragon Boat Federation Racing Championships which took place in Pattaya, Thailand at the end of August.

Of note was the Senior B team (age 50 plus), which took home 15 medals from 15 events, something that head coach Tom Arnold is extremely proud of.

“It was a thrilling experience,” Arnold said. “I think anytime you represent your country it’s a thrill, but for me this was my first time coaching a Canadian national team… that was a challenge and very exciting.”

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A majority of the Senior B team’s athletes originate from Vancouver Island, with 22 coming from VI Paddling, and others coming from the Fairway Gorge Paddling Club and Latitude 48 Paddling.

Other athletes from the team came from across the country, something Arnold thought was both a strength and a challenge.

“A huge part of it is that Canada just has tremendous talent in dragon boats,” he said. “But with athletes from across the country we don’t get to practise together often, so there’s a lot of trust in the training… We got to Thailand and had four practice days together and hoped it would work, and luckily it did.”

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Arnold adds that the sport is something designed for athletes of all calibres – from lifelong competitors to complete novices. The youngest competitor on the national team this year was 12, while the oldest was 71.

“The amazing thing about this sport is you’re never too old or too young to compete at a high-performance sport,” Arnold said, adding that he’s already looking forward to the next competition. “The next world championship in two years. We’re hopeful we’ll be able to lead the team again.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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VI Paddling coaching team Trish Crumpton (left), Mallorie Nicholson, Andree St Denis, Tom Arnold, Andrea Keenan, and Verlie Martin at the IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championship in Pattaya Thailand in August. (File contributed/ Tom Arnold)

VI Paddling coaching team Trish Crumpton (left), Mallorie Nicholson, Andree St Denis, Tom Arnold, Andrea Keenan, and Verlie Martin at the IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championship in Pattaya Thailand in August. (File contributed/ Tom Arnold)